How It Works

How It Works

Self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) can help to accurately diagnose hypertension and get blood pressures under control for patients with an existing diagnosis of hypertension.

Nurse talking to elderly woman

Here's how SMBP monitoring works with a patient.

1. Identify Patients for SMBP

In adults with untreated office BPs that are consistently between SBP of 120-129 mm Hg or DBP 75-79, screening for masked hypertension using SMBP is reasonable. In adults with an untreated SBP greater than 130 but less than 160 mm Hg or DBP greater than 80 but less than 100 mm Hg, it is reasonable to screen for the presence of white coat hypertension using SMBP prior to making the diagnosis of hypertension. To learn more about white coat and masked hypertension, see guidance on collecting and reviewing data. Additionally, SMBP is appropriate for patients with an existing diagnosis of hypertension but are potentially uncontrolled.

2. Teach Patient How to Perform SMBP

Educate patient on how to accurately measure blood pressure (PDF) at home using their own validated device or a loaner device from your practice. This can be done in 5-6 minutes by an RN or MA using the materials provided on this site.

3. Patient Performs SMBP

Patient measures and records their blood pressure every morning and evening for seven consecutive days. At each measurement, two blood pressures are obtained one minute apart. If using SMBP to assess control of an existing diagnosis of hypertension, SMBP should be performed starting two weeks after a new medication is started or current medication regimen is changed, and for the week prior to an office visit. A minimum of 3 days of consecutive blood pressures is acceptable. In any given week, the SBPs and DBPs should be averaged to give an average SBP and DBP (for example 145/95 mm Hg). We suggest providing a data collection log (PDF) for patients to record their BP readings in addition to the device memory (if present) on the BP monitor, as a backup.

4. Receive Patient Data

Patients can call your office with their blood pressure readings or return the completed log to your office. Once a patient provides their SMBP readings to your office, use our Blood Pressure Average Calculator (XLS) to determine the SMBP average for the week.

5. Interpret Results

Patients without an existing diagnosis of hypertension who have an SMBP average of greater than or equal to 130/80 meet criteria for having Stage 1 hypertension. Previously diagnosed patients are considered uncontrolled if their blood pressure is at or above 130/80. A patient with an SMBP average greater than or equal to 135/85 mm Hg has Stage 2 Hypertension. For more detailed information on SMBP results, including how to interpret patient SMBP data that differs from in-office blood pressure readings, see our guidance on collecting and reviewing data.

Learn how to implement SMBP

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